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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 26, 2011 5:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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long. right now, we'll send this up north to joe johns in the situation room right now. breaking news, hur rain irene headed up the east coast. wolf blitzer is off tonight. i'm joe johns. you're in "the situation room." >> i cannot stress this highly enough. if you are in the projected president of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. don't wait, don't delay. we all hope for the best, but we have to be prepared for the worst.
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we' how is it going in new york right now, mary? >> you just heard the president speak about this hurricane. new york had asked the president to declare emergency assistance. and the president did have an emergency declaration for new york, meaning the city and state will get federal help. but this is an unprecedented move in new york today, joe. the mayor michael bloomberg has ordered iffer the first time mandatory evac yags in low-lying areas of new york. and this encome passes areas that affect between 200 and 300,000 people. this out of caution and concern about high water and heavy winds. earlier throughout the day, there have been some evacuations
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taking place in hospitals and nursing homes where things were turned up a notch earlier this afternoon when those mandatory evacuations went in effect for new yorkers. also another unprecedented move. new york is shutting down its transit system tomorrow, beginning at noon, meaning that all subways, buses and commuter lines going into and out of the city will be shut down. millions by the way every day using the rail and bus systems here. if winds were above 39 miles an hour, and there is a big concern about flooding in the subways. so those two steps being announced hours ago here in new york. >> let's talk about the high rises in new york city. there are going to be strong winds blowing throughout the city. what are they doing? what are they saying?
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>> hurricanes are so rare. we don't know the exact path, the impact on new york. but high rises are a big concern with windows and the threat of them being broken. what city officials is telling people, the risk is higher for people living in the 10th floor or above. they're advising people to get away from windows and be in areas that are not near windows. they're also asking people to leave the city, not travel. and if they can ride out the storm with relatives, you know, that would be the best case scenario. but they'recying what the president had said. assuming the best but preparing for the worst. >> thanks so much, mare are you snow. we'll be getting back to you. obviously it could be a long
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couple of days in new york city. the storm's land fall could be just hours away. and chad myers in our hurricane headquarters in atlanta, i guess we want to turn to you now and get some sense of where that storm is. apparently near savannah, georgia, but way off the coast thus far. >> the conditions will be so bad by 4:00 a.m., you will not be able to drive anywhere. right now, the outer bands are already on to north carolina with tropical storm force winds. so from there to the eye, a couple hundred miles and then it continues to go up to the north from there. here's what i built for us. for forecast wind speeds,
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tropical storm in the green, hurricane in the yellow. hurricane force winds around the center of the eye. and atlantic beach by 7:00 tomorrow morning. that is 7:00 a.m. saturday. you need to be obviously out of there before that if you're going to do that. virginia beach, 7:00 p.m. or so tomorrow night, with the closest approach to the eye right there. that will push water from hampton roads into chesapeake. a little bit of a surge possible and flooding into virginia beach. if you're flooded with a small tropical storm, it's now forecast to be a very minimal hurricane. a very strong tropical storm as it moves into new york city. that comes in on sunday, sunday morning. 10:00 a.m., right over long island. and then one more stop for you. the closest approach to boston
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will be 3:00 p.m. we do know -- almost 46 million people, joe, will experience 50-mile-an-hour wind or greater with this storm. >> we really haven't seen that much change of a track in the last 12 hours. >> the track has stayed the same. the intensity of the storm has come down a lit bit. the storm has a little bit of air, dry air. you don't see the big purples anymore. the purples are gone. we still have some yellows and oranges. the purple really indicates a strengthening hurricane. the oranges and ideal lows indicate a weakening hurricane. the storm is over the gulf stream. it may not be done yet so do not let your guard down. john todd apparently driving in a car down the east coast.
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brian, can you hear me? >> caller: yes, i can, joe. >> where are you? what are you seeing? >> we, with we're driving just south of rocky mount, north carolina, on interstate 95. we're heading towards wilming n wilmington, south carolina. we're hitting one of the initial bands of rain, we believe, from the hurricane. we looked this up on a satellite map and it appears we're getting one of the initial bands of rain from the hurricane. officials here in north carolina, very concerned about the entire southeastern half of the state. they're worried this is going to affect about 3.5 million people from this interstate where we are and all points east. >> and where do you plan to end up? or are you just going to keep going, brian? >> we're going to get as close as we can. our plan right now is to head to the wilmington area and transit from there as soon as we can. we'll get as close as we possibly can.
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we'll hook up with national guard units sunday morning as they try to rescue people. we're going to get as close as we can. >> i want you to know you're in for flash flooding down there and you need to make sure you and your crew remain safe. the eastern part of north carolina, this is where ufr right there, that orange dot. the eastern part of north carolina will be flash flooded almost everywhere, so the crew, everyone else that's with you and the people around you need to stay safe. the people of north carolina are in for some big time flash flooding with almost ten inches of rainfall expected in the next 12 hours. brian? >> are you on an evacuation
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route? >> that i'm not sure of. this is the major interstate going through north and south carolina. if it's an evacuation route, it's certainly not jam packed, i can tell you that. we're headed south. but looking over to the northbound lane, it's about the same. so i'm not positive if this is an evacuation route, but it's hard to believe it wouldn't be one of them because this is the major thoroughfare going through north and south carolina. >> check back with us and tell us what you see and hear. >> at every level of government, officials have been issuing urgent warnings about the tremendous dangers this storm poses. millions are at risk. joining me now, homeland security secretary janet th napolita napolitano. thanks for come into "the situation room." when you look at this monster storm going up the east coast of the united states, what's your biggest concern at this time?
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>> it's a big storm it's going to cover a large geographic area. one concern i have is that once the storm immediately passes, don't forget about the after-effects. there can be flooding, there can be surge. we think a lot of power outages associated with that. so it's going to be a whole series of events and what we've been preparing for is that cascading series. >> power out rajs is a concern for national security. >> we've been working with the installations up and down the atlantic seaboard.
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we've been repositioning things so they can come in immediately after the storm passes to provide aid and the assistance to the people who live along the storm's path. so there's been an awful lot of work done in preparation over the last few days. and one of the things with we're reminding people of today is that they are part of our time. not only for those who live right on the coast, but also those who live inland. because as i said earlier, flood ing and surge flooding is highly likely. >> are we going to be able to make telephone calls? and what would you tell people to do in the alternative if cell service is not working very well once the storm hits?
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>> what was interesting there, the first resonders in the earthquake were able to communicate with each other. the cell service failure was an after-effect of everybody trying to use their cell phone simultaneously. so we urge people to use other means of communication if they can. we think that there are a lot of ways that we need to think ahead and prepare for and n case you can't use your cell phone to call a family member, how you get in touch in case you are separated. >> let's talk about over forms of communication. social media, e-mails and sort of. are there any guidelines you can give people? >> yes, and we are encouraging it. the guideline i give is common sense. think ahead. have a plan for yourself and for your family.
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if you have to evacuate, other members will know you're safe and where you've relocated to. >> budget cuts other the past weeks, month, even the past couple of years, how are people supposed to deal with a huge potential energy like this another a time when they're cutting back on emergency service and perhaps even in the area of first responders? >> this is where people really see their government at work and why we want to sustain improvements made over the past years. i can say this from a federal government perspective, and that is the availability of funds under the disaster recovery act, or the disaster recovery fun will nomt be a limitation on our ability to respond. i've been in touch wf mayors and governors over the past few days and none of nem have mentioned
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that as a limiting factor. everything is being put in in a coordinated way. >> we're hearing from people refusing to heed evacuation orders. what's your message to them this evening? >> i would ask them to reconsider. those warnings, those requests to evacuate are not given lightly. we know they cause hardship to people. when the able-bodied evacuate, that enables us to focus on those who need special assistance. evacuating the elderly, nursing homes. evacuating the sick, hospitals. evacuating communities that need special help. so one of the reasons that we ask people to evacuate is we can to focus on those communities and so we don't put our own first responders at risk to save people. we want to keep loss of life to zero if we can. absolutely to a minimum.
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that's the reason these orders are given. >> earlier today, president obama had a conference call with a number of governors, mayors and leaders. were you on that call? what was the president's message to these people who are sdeeling with the crisis! >> i was on that call. i've been on several other calls with the president and his message was that the federal government was standing behind our first responders and local communities 1110%. we know that cities, towns and states are the first -- they're on the frontlines. they're the first to respond. the federal government, however, is here to provide support and backup. >> just by koins lens, i think, cnn did a cnn/orc poll which was released today which gave us a little bit of an indication as to how people feel they're
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prepared for a big emergency on the east coast. i want to put up the results of this poll. things like having a stockpile of food and water. northeast 36%, yes. midwest, 39%. south, 55%. west 46%. it's fascinating almost how people in the northeast seem to be less prepared than other parts of the country. >> i don't know why that is, but perhaps it's because the northeast hasn't been hit by a hurricane for many, many years. given that people forget how big a storm these are and how big an impact they can have, we've seen in the spring and tornadoes throughout the midwest and the south it's been a very bad weather year. we've been able to manage those disasters and work with commune
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phillips i think at one point we had 28 states that had major disaster declarations in effect. but the northeast was largely exempt for that. so now it may be the northeast's turn unfortunately. we sd ask from the mid-atlantic up, north carolina north for people to take that extra step, be prepared, think through what you need to do for yourself and your family. >> thanks so much for coming into "the situation room." please get back to us if you have any updates as this hurricane rides up the east coast. >> we'll talk to a recruit who sent us this photo of top seal beach in north carolina. ♪
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following the story of hurricane irene, joining us now,
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an ireporter who sent us this video this afternoon from toll sail beach, north carolina. what's the scene from where you are right now? >> right now it's pretty crazy. it was calm, the calm before the storm. you had the outer ring of the hurricane. now it's completely raining and the surge is way up. >> of you're in the marines and you're there for raining. why are you not being evacuated? >> i don't think there's that big of a threat to be honest. >> so you're not afraid? >> caller: not at all. >> and you're planning on staying? >> i'm riding it out right here. wouldn't it be easier to just move away? or are you just doing this because, you know, it feels sort of macho? >> well, maybe a little bit of
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both. you have to set the standards for the marines, you know. but i've been in a hurricane down in the keys and i kind of have an idea what to expect. i'm worried about the construction of the place i'm staying at. but other than that, what are you going to do? >> got it. what are you training for? and do you know if the ore military personnel around camp lejeune are being moved out. >> it's not a mandatory evacuation, but i know they got friday early to pretty much get out if you wanted to. if not, stay, they weren't going to force you to leave. i've got training to i've got to be back here monday morning at 7:00 a.m. >> kinds of preparations have you made? >> basically some mres, water, adult beverages and wait it out and hope for the best. >> i've got to ask you, when we
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talk to people in situations like this who are deciding to ride out the storm, the thing that comes to our mind is that if things get really dicey at the end of the day, it's the authorities who are going to have to come in and pull you out of there. so i guess, do you concern yourself with the idea that you may be creating a risk for rescue personnel? >> i understand exactly what you're saying. and if you took no preparations, if your home is on the ground level where it's a low-lying area and a storm surge coming in, you're pretty much risking a lot of stuff. that water is just going to run through there. i'm pret secure where i am. no, because once you commit, we're on an island, once that storm rolls in, there's no help. you're pretty much -- you're committed. >> that's for sure. i've been out there at camp lejeune. there's not a lot you can do when the bad weather comes in. thanks so much. really good talking to you. be safe and we hope you make the
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right decision there. now we're going to go to cnn's david mattingly in kill devil hills, north carolina. david, can you hear me? what are you seeing there? >> well, john, for the first time today, it seems like there is a storm coming. we've had some rough surf today anticipate some clouds, but now the surf is just absolutely pounding through here right now. and look at those black ominous clouds rolling and going all the way to the horizon. make no mistake about it. irene is on its way. and when it gets here what they're most concerned about out here with this force of nature bearing down on them is what es. >> going to happen to these dunes. that surf, when you have the storm surge is going to punch its way through the dunes, up and down the outer banks. they don't know exactly where, but it happens every time a hurricane comes through. when it punches through, it's going to flood the roads and property behind it.
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they're also going to have problems, not just with the water coming from the atlantic ocean, but from the water on the other side of the islands coming from the sound and the bays. when this storm gets further north it's going to pull that water on to land as well. some people call it a reverse storm surge reason. i've seen it happen in the past. it can flood a lot of streets. make them impassable. and in some ways be just as dangerous as what you see coming from the ocean. just a few minutes ago, we got notice that this area surnd mandatory evacuation. that doesn't mean they're going to come to your house and make sure you're gone. what that means is if you stay behind and get in trouble, no one is going to be able to come to help you.
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they're trying to drive that home. today a lot of residents were packing up, leaving as well. closing up their homes on the beach and moving to higher ground. we saw heavy equipment trying to replace sand between some of the gaps in the dunes. repairing as best they can for this big storm that's clearly headed this way. joe? >> so david, how far up and down the coast from you does this evacuation order apply? i mean, you can go all the way up to duck, north carolina, you can go down farther. how many people and how large an area is affected by the evacuation order, if you know? >> if you're on outer banks, you're under a mandatory
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evacuation order. 250,000 people to move insland no small feat, but authorities believe people are listening and for the most part they are getting out well ahead of the storm. so they i've ben giving traffic advice. they're telling people to go west, not north. the storm is headed north and they'll run into people in virginia and beyond who are also trying to evacuate. >> i imagine a whole lot of late august va yagss ruined for many, many americans on the east coast because of this huge storm. thanks so much, david mattingly in kill devil hills. >> it hasn't made land fall yet, but hurricane irene is already paralyzing some of the nation's biggest cities. could the storm also cause some of the largest power outages this country has ever seen.
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>> president obama says all indications point to have hurricane irene being historic. >> this has been the largest hurricane i have ever seen. temperaturically when you get a very strong storm, and we're talking andrew and hugo and even
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katrina, those winds were confined to about 100 miles from center. this storm expands 250 miles to tropical storm force winds. also the amount of rain will also be a very, very big deal. here's charleston, now under a flash flood warning all the way up to about wild dunes as well. i'm going to put this in just minute by minute. atlantic beach, the yellow here, 7:00 a.m. that's the land fall of the hurricane force winds. this is 7:00 a.m., but the winds are already in hampton roads, virginia beach. for 12 hours they will get tropical storm force winds before the hurricane force winds go. now 7:00 p.m. saturday, tomorrow night.
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2:00 a.m., ocean city really gets slammed with those on shore winds because the eye of the storm offshore. even at 10:00 a.m., there were tropical storm force winds starting in boston where the heaviest winds don't begin for another six to eight hours. so the size of this green mass is when you're 40 miles, 39-mile-an-hour or many. and it continues to the northeast and the size is bigger than -- the size from top to bottom and left to right is bigger than europe. that -- the size is just tremendous. and what's going to happen with all of this wind coming here for so many hours all the way up to new york city, the storm surge will be big. i think it will be bigger than what people are expecting.
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what happened if wind like this occurs? let's go down here to the cape hatteras area. every red area, that's $1 million or more in damage fer census track. or kind of a breakup of some counties. millions of dollars of damage. this is now the jersey shore. millions of dollars in damage here. but back out to eastern long island and into connecticut, rhode island, and even massachusetts, there's boston, there's manchester, new hampshire. million dollars or more, the total loss just from wind alone is now estimated at $2.7 billion. joe? >> that's just amazing. when you think of it, feel so love to live very close to the water because they can see it, they can hear it. but when you have something like this happening, you start thinking twice, don't you?
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and that number has nothing to do with storm surge yet as all of that water gets pushed up to the northeast with 250 miles worth of tropical storm force winds. that's ten hours of winds blowing the same way, pushing water in and just flooding slowly like a rising bathtub. >> thanks so much for that now. a state of energy is in effect in maryland ahead of hurricane irene. governor martin o'malley says people need to be prepared to be on their own for 72 hours if there are massive power outages. jeanne, this is a tourism hot spot that a lot of people from the washington area always go to. it seems like the last time we
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had this kind of threat it was hurricane gloria? is that right? >> that's right. it was gloria back in 185. after that storm, the army corps of engineers built sand dunes and a lorng berm to try to protect the real estate. the mayor is really hopeful that is going to hold. but he's expecting flooding at the southern end of the city. businesses here are preparing, of course. they're taping, they're boarding up, making improvised sandbags and putting them along the doorways in hopes that will help protect their properties. we spoke to one store owner. >> what kind of precautions are you taking? >> we're boarded up downtown. it's all class. now we're sandbagging, hoping for the best.
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>> this is your economic future. >> this is it, this is our family. >> we're doing everything we can to take care of everything. yep. >> the mayor is optimistic. he says if the city can bounce back, september is a really big month forcy business. there are a few people on the street, but not very many. the mayor says he's very pleased. police have been going door to door, telling people to get out. if they don't, they're taking their names, their addresses and names of next of kin. that may be enough to propel additional people over the bridge before irene hits. back to you. >> so jeanne, everybody is just about gone by now? >> pretty much. i mean, i'm looking out a at some of the major avenues here. i see an occasional car. i know some are emergency vehicles or people who are authorized to be here. for instance, the skeleton staff
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at faulties like this hotel. but really, you know what ocean city looks like on a busy summer day. it's eerie to go down the boardwalk. there is virtually nobody out there except an occasional police patrol to make sure things are safe and secure. joe? >> thanks for that. there could be unprecedented power outages from hurricane irene. are crews ready? [ female ] we will always be dependent on foreign oil. [ male ] using clean american fuel is just a pipe dream. ♪ [ female announcer ] we're rolling away misperceptions about energy independence. did you know that today about a quarter of all new transit buses use clean, american natural gas? we have more natural gas than saudi arabia has oil. so how come we're not using it even more? start a conversation about using more natural gas vehicles in your community.
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>> airlines are grounding flights, dropping ticket change fees for people flying from or to east coast airports.
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and pepco is robocalling customers. >> pepco is preparing for power outages this weekend. the company has globalized internal resources to be able to repair equipment and restore power as quickly and safely as possible. due to the magnitude of the storm, the company expects the restoration effort to extend for multiple days. >> pepco provides electricity for 800,000 customers in washington and maryland alone. hurricane irene is washing out an historic event in the nation's capital. the storm has canceled sunday's dedication ceremony for the in uh martin luther king memorial.
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hundreds of thousands of people across the country, including president obama were expected to attend. the dedication likely will happen now in september or october. and look at this. this is footage some of the last hurricane to hit new york city. the year was 1938 and the category 3 storm made land fall in eastern long island. the hurricane nicknamed the long island express killed more than 700 people, injured 700 mur and destroyed 4,500 homes. the great new england hurricane was one of the most destructive and power storms to ever strike new england. we're going to take a break and come right back. [ male announcer ] the network --
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>> our continuing coverage of hurricane irene. now to new york city where there are mandatory evacuation for five city hospitals in low-lying areas. cnn's senior medical
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correspondent elizabeth cohen joins us live from new york with the latest. elizabeth? >> we are talking about evacuations from 22 facilities in all when you count nursing homes and psychiatric facilitate phelps here's zone a, the lowest lying zone in new york city. conie island, the five universities have to be evacuated. the fear is the power will go out and they won't be able to take care of those patients. the hospitals just found b out about it this morning. the mayor wants them out by 8:00 tonight. and i have here with me andrew ruben, the president of nyu. you just came up from nyu. so you've been watching and helping with this all day.
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>> we rehearse and prepare for this all the time. they want to make sure the patients are safe wherever they're going. you're talking about very sick patients. you take care of some desperately ill people. no one is staying at the hospital, as i understand it. they're all leaving. >> each patient is evaluated by the nurse and physicians to make sure that the transport is safe. each patient has to be evaluated to make sure where they're going to make sure there's a bed in the appropriate unit for them. if you're a cardiac patient you're going to a unit with
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cardiac patients. >> are you worried about the cardiac patients. >> sure, from the least sick to the sickest, anytime you move a patient out that you weren't planning in moving out of the hospital, there's a risk in that. our dr. grossman felt strongly he did not want to have to do this. this came from the mayor's office. >> do you agree with the mayor? or do you think it's maybe unnecessary? >> i really can't answer that. i think time will tell if it was the right decision, right, depending on whether the zone a floods as badly as they're predicting. but if it does flood, it's a big problem for a lot of hospitals. >> but if your hospital ends up being okay, thisst all unnecessary. >> you never know. you want to play it safe and it's just weighing two bad choices. >> that's right. so as we speak, you ear getting patients out there and we'll be
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thinking about them and the patients in the other hospitals. and really hoping that this transport all goes well, sending patients to area hospitals. elizabeth cohen with a very serious situation in new york city. certainly sounds almost unprecedented. thanks so much for that. >> president obama is warning americans to take this storm very seriously. and if you're given an evacuation order, follow it. we'll have more coming up next. opens its doors s or creates another laptop bag or hires another employee, it's not just good for business -- it's good for the entire community. at bank of america, we know the impact that local businesses have on communities, so we're helping them with advice from local business experts and extending $18 billion in credit last year. that's how we're helping set opportunity in motion.
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. the u.s. military is preparing to make landfall. chris lawrence joins us from the
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pentagon with the latest. what are you hearing? >> the military designated about 18 helicopters that fema can use in search and rescue operations and will be used for surveillance and look for people who may be in trouble. the military is designated about three bases in new jersey, massachusetts and also ft. bragg that are incidence response centers and working with fema and ft. bragg for example have more than 200 trucks filled with food, water, medical supplies and things to get out from those areas military is trying to stay out of the way of this storm. the air forces moving the plains to ohio. the navy sent about 38 of its battle ships out to sea. that's about 13% of the battle fleets amount of sizable portion is now out to sea about 300 miles away.
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they are going to try to ride out the storm there. >> that's the idea. 300 miles out away from the eye of the storm. thanks for that information. we will be checking back with you. >> a hurricane hunter plane flying directly above the storm. we will talk to the hurricane hunter and see what it looks like from the sky. [ male announcer ] this is the network. a network of possibilities. excuse me? my grandfather was born in this village. [ automated voice speaks foreign language ] [ male announcer ] in here, everyone speaks the same language. ♪ in here, forklifts drive themselves. no, he doesn't have it. yeah, we'll look on that. [ male announcer ] in here, friends leave you messages written in the air. that's it right there. [ male announcer ] it's the at&t network. and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say.
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[♪...] >> male announcer: now, for a limited time, your companion flies free, plus save up to 65%. call 1-800-sandals. conditions apply. joining me now from massachusetts where the president is cutting short his vacation. dan? >> that's right. the president and the first lady and his two daughters leaving a day early because the president believe believes it's prudent to be back in washington. before he leaves here, the president tried to convey a sense of urgency, saying to those americans in the pathway of the hurricane to heed
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evacuation warnings. trying to avoid a storm of criticism, president obama said the federal government was one step ahead of hurricane irene. >> people to had has millions of leaders of water. millions of meals and tens of thousands of cots and blankets with other supplies along the earn seaboard. the american red cross has begun preparing shelters in north carolina and other states. >> with u.s. navy ships ordered to ride out the storm, the president changed his own travel plans issued an urgent warning to people in the path. >> you have to take precautions now. don't wait. don't delay. >> president obama held a conference call with his top emergency management officials and spoke with governors and mayors from states that stand to take the brunt of the storm. on martha's vineyard, the threat of hurricane irene led to an exodus. >> for gets chaotic on the
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island, since i'm not a year around resident, i decided to head back home. >> the flights and ferries were backed as vacations were cut short. >> we're are cutting it short by three days as a result of this storm. we are absolutely unhappy. >> those staying behind rushed to a hardware store to shock up on emergency supplies. >> gas cans and flashlights and batteries and we have now been pretty bare. >> at a local marina, the boats were gone too. >> they realized the boats are at risk and they started calls to say can you pull my boat up quickly. >> two major shelters and two minor shelters. >> emergency management officials huddled. a robo calling system is ready to be activated. >> each town has the ability to call the citizens with an alert message. >> an ending to a presidential
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vacation that balanced bike rides with a crisis in libya, earthquake, and briefings on the u.s. economy. >> mother nature is going to do her thing. we try to weather it as best we can. >> white house is trying to show an administration on top of this situation. over the last few days getting prepare and over the last few years. one aide said the president took part in an exercise simulation of a category three hurricane. >> with the president in viniard haven, massachusetts. thanks, dan. >> new hurricane warnings have been issued for new york and new england. this is the carolinas that are beginning the feel the brunt of the storm. katherine sullivan is in a plane
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directly above the hurricane as we speak. what are you seeing there? >> hi, joe. we are in one of the intense rain bands of the storm as we are talking. i have eight window panes that is streaming with rain. as we say one passed through storms from south to north. that is the easy direction. we are now getting in position to make our other two passes across the storm. that's about 11:00 tonight. >> when you do this, when you fly into hurricanes like this, what are you expecting to get? what are you looking for? >> you know the responsibility for the forecast and warnings that everyone is paying good attention to. to make a good prediction of where the hurricane will go. what the intensity may be.
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you need measurements from within the storm itself. despite the great information, they play a valuable in helping us understand what forces will steer and shape the path of a return. to get the model of the dynamics right, we have to get inside. we are getting down to visit now. we are cutting through the storm with radars and with microwave radio meters and 40 different distances we will release from the airplane and they will descend through the storm making vertical profiles of the wind speed and the temperature and the pressure and the humidity, all of that gets sent to the national hurricane center's forecast models to pinpoint and make more precise the physic that is the models are representing and the calculations that they do to cause the prediction. we don't have weather stations on the ground. we have an ocean. you have to get into the storm to rate the measurements and
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keep the models on track. >> you able to make any analysis and assessments on the spot or have to wait until it runs through computers back at home base. in other words, have you seen any changes in the storm that you can tell to us live right here on cnn right now. >> you really do need to wait to assimilate all of the data. the storm is huge. it's hundreds of miles in diameter. any given moment the storm doesn't give us the picture we need to say to you what's happening and what's going on with the storm. we have penetrated the eye once and it did appear to that this air dlu it's going through the storm many times in the last week. the wall of the eye was less organized and they have seen it on other flights. that visual indication will get added to the measurements.
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you will in the next hour or so hear updates from the hurricane center that includes some of the data from this this flight. they will give you the best understanding of what's going on and what is the likely next 12 hours and 48 hours are with hurricane irene. >> i didn't hear you very well there. did you say the wall of the eye is less organized than the crew has seen it before? >> yeah, that's not uncommon. as a hurricane goes through as many days of evolution, there is eyewall replacements where the wall of thunderstorms makes up with the eye at some point and sdi disintegrates and you don't want to make that too much. not a steady wall >> as you look out the window.
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just milky gray with all of the window panes. about 200 miles an hour at 11,000 feet. you can tell from my voice it's from the rain bands we are in right now. this is not a picture postcard stuff. this is the middle of a rain band of a return. >> you have walked in space. give us a sense as to whether it's scarier in space doing something like that or scarier flying into the eye of a hurricane. >> well, i don't find either of these particularly scary. i am a superbly trained crew, but if there is anything scary going on, we knock off the flight and get the crew and the
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airplane back to safety this is scientific inquiries like space shuttle flights or hurricane hunter flights are the things i drive on. they are probing the way our planet works and translating what we learned into useful information. that's what noaa does. protect lives and livelihoods for americans through weather forecasts and warnings. it's more fascinating than anything else to be a part of that great scientific undertaking that means so much to the american people and the economy. >> thanks so much for that flying into the eye of a hurricane just to walk in the park for her. now meteorologist chad meyers in the hurricane headquarters. you heard what she said. is that about what you expect to hear at this point? >> without a doubt. we have a ragged eyewall at this point. yesterday we had a beautiful eyewall. about 2:00 in the morning.
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we were tweeting about how the eyewall looked beautiful at that point in time. you don't find an eye. you don't see a spot in the middle of this satellite. that is an eye. that happens when an outer eyewall tries to take over for an inner one or what happened with us today, this thing gulped in a bunch of dry air. there is no cloud cover right there. that's a gulp that came off the coast of the atlantic coast from georgia and was gulped into the storm that. almost killed it for a while. what i want you to think about this storm, considering it is 300 miles or so, north, south, east, and west. this hurricane probably about an 80 mile per hour storm, barely a category one is an ice skater with her arms out and the leg out and spinning slowly. all of that energy is still there. that potential energy is still there for this hurricane to pull its arms in.
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if that hurricane with all of this energy pulls itself together and gets that wound around the core, this one can go back into category three hurricane status. that is not the forecast. just telling you, that's the potential. the forecast is for it to be a very large hurricane. it will be a category one, but for hours, i'm talking like 12 hours, we will have tropical storm force, we are talking 39 to 40 miles per hour or more in new york city and also here along the shore hereof jersey, all of that will pore water or push water into the new york harbor. that pushing of water causes storm surge and that surge is going to be equal to a category one, maybe almost the one, two. that means a strong category one. when that happens, parts of new york will begin to flood. parts of the city will begin to flood. all of that around here could
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get water. certainly about theory park will be under water. some of the areas here off to the east. this is basically a landfill in the first place. some of the small spots, the low lands could flood with the water getting pushed in and trying to go up the hudson river. it doesn't want to go that way. it wants to go this way. that's the potential for soum hours of wind blowing in the same direction. >> the new world trade center site is that one of the areas that can be affected by more water if it comes inland? >> certainly. they dug it out. if you go there, you go from wall street and walk to the site and you can look over the -- i don't know. it's probably just plywood fence they put there. it goes down at least 30 or 40 feet down there. if uh water pores into that area it will go down the basement, no question about that. there pumps, but it will go down there for sure.
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>> reporter: that is a first. the city will start shutting down subways and buses and computerer trains that come into and out of the city. it will shut down at noon tomorrow. it will take about hours for the system to come to a halt. we are talking about the concerns and the storm surges with chat. that is what prompted city officials to order what the mayor said the first ever mandatory evacuations will be affecting between 200 and 300,000 people signalling the urgency of the threat from hurricane irene, michael bloomburg ordered the first ever evacuation from
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200,000 residents from low-lying new york city. >> the sun is shining, but don't be misled. there is a very dangerous storm headed in our direction. >> another unprecedented move. the city is shutting down the mass transit because of the potential of high water and heavy winds. all subways, buses and commuter trains will begin shutting down at noon on saturday. because a hurricane hitting new york is so rare, people like professor nicholas koch who studied hurricanes for years worries about new yorkers ignoring potential danger. >> there is as a new yorker, i know the people i live with. i have the expertise, but these people are bright and do not understand what being in a hurricane is. >> maybe not, but new yorkers are stocking up on splice like batteries, candles and flashlights. >> it's never been like that. even when it was the blackout.
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it wasn't this much of a traffic like this. >> among those shopping for supplies, new yorker yvonne lewis. >> it comes and goes, the fear. i'm concerned because i live in a high-rise. i want to know if i am supposed to evacuate on the ninth floor? i don't know. i have to look into that. >> there is a risk for the people on the tenth floor and higher. not to go near windows during the storm. some people are living. heather lives in lower manhattan. she moved up travel plans to avoid being in new york. >> what are makes you nervous? >> i think it's the unknown. not something the city experienced in a long, long time. not knowing how strong it will be once it hits >> i have to tell you a lifelong new yorkers are saying they never have quite seen the urgency with these is that one
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big overreaction? they don't want to take that chance and not take necessary precautions other new yorkers have until 5:00 tomorrow. this is one of them. especially vulnerable to the storm surges also one other concern is bridges if there sustained winds of 60 miles an hour more, the bridges out of the city will be shut down >> a lot to think about there and certainly, i heard from a couple of new yorkers who were skeptical. you have to take those precautions just in case coming up, we will go out to david matingly and we will check in with him and see how the tar
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>>ar staying with continuing coverage of hurricane irene, starting to heat up out there. >> reporter: that's right. we have rain coming in. we have to get used to this. we will see about 10 inches of rain being dumped by the storm. see where it is? that storm surge will bring it up to here or maybe up to here as it crashes into these dunes. all up and down the outer banks, there will be places where the dunes are not strong enough to take the wounding the waves will flood streets and make the islands impassible after this storm passed.
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it could pull some of the water on the westside to pull it on the land as well i have seen that happen. they put out a mandatory evacuation order for residents here. they are telling them they need to. if the wind is too strong for the vehicle, they get in trouble and there will not be emergency services to bail them out. officials want everyone to know if they stay behind, you are on your own joe?
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>> that is the real risk. people who decide they are not going to pay attention to the order to evacuate, they end up putting the rescue people at risk. the very people who would come out and try to help them they should have just left in the first place. >> reporter: if the roads are impassible, they are not taking the certainly risk. this is too dangerous for people to be outside regardless of what the emergency is. so the people who are staying here and people who are hunkering down, they are going to be on their own. the people that we talked to who say they are going to be staying on the island, a lot of them are veterans they are treating the storm with respect and taking the property precautions. >> out in kill devil hills, we
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will check back in with you. i want to go to brian todd still on the road driving south into the storm. i can tell you since your last shot into the program, it looks like it is conditions have deteriorated. >> we are near warsaw and north carolina in duplin county driving towards the coast. the rain has gotten extreme. we are coming to you through cool technology and streeping video via the internet. you can see this on the windshield. we are in one of the counties where they have mandatory evacuations. this is the official here in north carolina and they are concerned this storm could impact an area that includes about 20 counties and 3.5 million people.
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the governor is one of seven governors on a conference call with president obama this morning discussing ways they will deal with all of this. an interesting comment from the sheriff who is not far from where we are and the rain is intensifying here by the way. the sheriff said that he thought that several fishermen and others who have been pulling boats from the water and taking precautions, his comment was when these people are concerned, it's really something to be concerned about. he is confident people in the area will make it through the hurricane because they have experience with this. they know what they are doing. right now it's getting extreme and they could be heading into flash flood zones. >> how far outside of will with mington are you? i understand you are on route 40? >> we are on i-40 heading i believe east-southeast towards wilmington and we are about 50 miles from wilmington.
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these areas again, the roads here are not packed with cars they are heading to the opposite direction. >> looks like it for that picture. that is remarkable technology to be able to beam back these pictures of driving on the road on the way to wilmington. we will be checking back in with you soon. brian todd. john zirella has seen more than his share of storms. he know what is a hurricane like this can do. he is in the path of the storm and we'll speak with him next. you are in "the situation room."
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we want to go back to chad meyers in the hurricane headquarters for the latest. we do know and we are about to go to john zirella around moorhead city. you can tell us about what's going on out there? it looks like the conditions have gotten bad. >> tremendous rainfall. it's the same thing that brian todd is driving into. tremendous rainfall away from the eye. he has a 37 to 38 mile per hour wind. there is the 39 mile per hour gust. we get you closer to john zirella. that beach right there is
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atlantic beach. one band after another. then as the bands come in, the winds pick up. the winds come in with the band of rain. when the band of rain goes away, the winds calm down. after that another band comes in and the wins pick up again. here's what the wind speed forecast is like right now for irene that is an enormous wind field pattern. there is an enormous amount of tropical storm, two return force winds. atlantic beach is where john is. hurricane force winds along the shore virginia beach with the closest approach.
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the storm is offshore, but along the coast and ocean city. by sunday morning, long island gets its share. you have to understand that the area here in long island sound, south of long island and into the harbor of new york, we will have winds for 24 hours. blowing the same way at about and making flooding without a doubt, the coastal low land surge into manhattan and parts of williamsburg you take all of that water and you take it and shove it up into providence and a funnel
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it's a river about a half mile wide. you will certainly get flooding up there. >> thanks so much. going-over in time for john zirella. you covered a lot of hurricanes. >> it's starting to deteriorate in the last hour or hour and a half. the rain is steady and hard and you can hear the wind blowing nothing is going to knock me over as you can see, it's desserted the police have been going around with bull horns telling
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people you will be off the streets and there will be no cars on the streets. there is awe curfew at 8:00 tonight. that's it. they are locking down the island. they are not going to let anybody on after 8:00 if we get a direct hit from the storm, it's crisscrossed with power lines along poles coming down and lights being not working and all the issues that go with the territory the storm is coming from the south at us to my left, on the north, as the storm goes by, we get storm surge as it passes us.
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the sound is likely to come back from this direction we are very possible here depending on exactly where we are in relation to the center of the storm. we could get two storm surges here. one from the ocean and from the sound. as chad was pointing out, the center of the circulation will be close to skip over us by about 7:00 tomorrow morning. the conditions are going to continue to go downhill from here throughout the rest of the evening and the overnight hours joe? >> what kind of precautions do you take to remain safe as the storm comes in. what we are going to do, if we
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can no longer broadcast in the early morning hours when the winds are so high that the dish is moving like this and we can't keep a signal up, we will go to the hortable equipment. we will set it up under the over hang and try to get the signal out and hopefully tomorrow morning as we are really getting hammered by this thing, we will be able to get signals out. to keep with us and stay safe. the question will be when it's all said and done, are the roads going to be littered with downed power lines and trees and poles and are we going to be able to get out of here come sunday. that's just something -- that's a bridge we will have to cross in a couple of days joe? stay safe. we will be watching for your
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reports gas prices are expected to spike as the storm pounds the east coast. a hurricane is threatening a tenth of the nation's refining capacity. gas futures trading in new york have risen 10 cents a gallon. prices could temporarily increase twice that amount. analysts expect irene to force refineries to shut down just in time for the busy labor day weekend. the warnings of presidents, governors and mayors are not enough to make some people evacuate. we will speak with man who is ready to ride out the hurricane even though it means risking his life. can i have some ice cream, please ? no, it's just for new people. hey ! chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ? chocolate ! chocolate it is ! yeah, but i'm new, too. umm... he's new... er... than you.
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new jersey governor chris christie has a stern message for those choosing not to heed evacuation orders in his state.
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>> this is not like anything you have seen before. i have heard some dopes on television today saying yeah, yeah, category two hurricane is nothing more than a bad thunderstorm. you stay there at the risk of your life. it's that simple. if the track of the storm changes, that's one thing, but it has not changed in the last nearly 24 hours. there is no expectation from the national weather service at this point that it will. these people who are going on the news and both on the radio and the television and saying they have seen it all before and they will ride it out, those are the same people who are going to be asking general reece's troops to save them with a helicopter as the water fills up to the attic. >> joining us now is a man who is riding out the storm in new jersey. ben, there is a mandatory order
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for evacuation. why are you defying it? >> well, my primary residence is in downtown manhattan a few blocks from the hudson river and i didn't want to be there either. this is not the greatest option in the world, but it's what i've chosen. not to say i won't reassess things in 24 hours's time. that's the decision i made right now. this house is on 12-foot stilts and i have plenty of food and a mountain bike and a kayak if need be. >> we are seeing pictures you sent in of you and others perhaps boarding up the property there? is that what we are seeing? >> my property is not boarded up. i did send in images from the surrounding municipalities and did see people sealing windows
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for the hours ahead >> what do you say to the governor that it's silly and dangerous for you to do something like this? >> i think since the governor is right, to be out as far ahead as we have, having said that, i made the decisions and i'm trying to manage the risk as best i can. if things look dire, i will do what needs to be done. i am appreciative of the warnings that have come from the white house on down. down to the local officials here telling people to take it seriously. >> now, what is your plan to get yourself out of this situation, especially if you need help. how do you figure you will get out if you decide to change your mind? >> my plan is i spoke to someone
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in the four-while drive vehicle and i will wake up tomorrow and make a decision. if it looks like there is anything even approaching as a serious risk, i will drive off the island. that's my plan as of now. that may change and i'm confident that will work. it will be interesting to see what happens when the storm makes landfall and i will play it by ear. >> are you there by yourself and have other people around you that made the same decision to stay? >> i am in my house by myself, but i talked to numerous people today who either said they were going to wait and see or they were just going to stay out right. i talked to an individual who manages the gas station a block from my house, he said he was going to close, but not leave the island. another individual was simply tying up his boat at a marina nearby and seemed to be staying.
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the majority of the people i talked to did seem to either want to stay or just wait and see. >> all right, ben. we will be watching to see what happens. let us know how things progress for you. >> absolutely. thank you so much. >> several islands in the caribbean are picking up the pieces after irene roared ashore. the san teeny family described how they were stranded on the turks and caicos islands for two days. thigh witnessed flooded roads on the way to the airport and when they got there, the terminal had no electricity. they told how lines of people were waiting for flights. one airport worker said the terminal had been flooded earlier that morning. this storm is stirring up memories of a storm that thrashed long island 73 years ago. that hurricane's fury is not totally forgotten. we will go there live, ahead.
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breaking news coverage continues in "the situation room." the trail of hurricane irene as
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it makes its way up the east coast. there fears that history could repeat itself in long island. susan canned lotiy is there with that story. >> reporter: we are here on fire island now. this is barrier island. to the south shore of long island. hope that it will provide some kind of protect to the south shore of long island when hurricane irene arrives. you wouldn't believe the number of people who are here as the sun is setting, but yes, if they are old enough these people might remember the great hurricane of 1938 nicknamed the long island express. it was a category three storm that claimed the lives of 200 people from here all the way up to new england. compare that to hurricane donna which was a category two storm. no lives reported lost and forecasters say because people
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heeded the warnings given to them. the question is are they paying attention this time? people who lived here are going to be underhand tori evacuation orders. some of them are in place. we are hearing from people who are getting ready doing everything they are supposed to do. gathering water and food and cash just in case. the thing everyone knows for sure according to forecasters, there is going to be flooding in low-lying areas and there will be a high storm surge and there will be power outages they do know it. for now enjoying the beach here and this beach will be closed >> it's very misleading because it's a beautiful picture. the light seems perfect like a calm day at the beach. >> that's right. that's why people are taking it
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in while they can. while they will be able to come to the beach tomorrow, i am told by the national park service and the surf will be off limits. it will be far stronger by tomorrow. people will be told to go in. you are going in at your own risks they are likely to be out no matter what. the order will be in for them to stay ashore. >> susan candiotti with the quiet before the storm. quite literally. thanks for that. the times of the storm could not be worse for washington. the city is recovering for tuesday's earthquake that damaged the washington monument. now park service workers are rushing to plug cracks caused by the tremor. the fear is that water will seep into the monument itself. the smithsonian museum's castle took a hit in the quake.
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they hope to keep five decorative ture ets from harm. this is the oldest building on washington's national mall. there is no way to avoid a hurricane when it's teaming straight towards you. people along the east coast are filling sandbags and nailing plywood over windows and preparing to protect their homes from the storm's worst. is it true that name your own price.... >> even easier? affirmative. we'll show you other people's winning hotel bids. >>so i'll know how much to bid... ...and save up to 60% >>i'm in i know see winning hotel bids now at priceline.
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as we watch the march of hurricane irene up the coast of the united states, the state of maryland is extremely worried about all the possibilities of what could happen over the next couple of days. athena jones is in annapolis maryland, and people are worried about flooding, aren't they? >> reporter: absolutely. was a beautiful day today. we saw a lot of people out. we know it's not going to look like this tomorrow. the mayor declared a state of emergency. they expect three-foot storm surge. this is a place that floods
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easily in a rain storm let alone a hurricane or tropical storm. people are taking things seriously. we've been here all day. you see these empty slips behind me. people have been coming in since early this morning and taking their boats out of this smaller dock area to a place of safer harbor to protect them from the storm. that's been the message from the city to the residents to take this storm seriously and take precautions. we saw a run on sandbags the city was providing all throughout the day with trucks arriving every 20 minutes at first and later every 40 minutes. they ran out of the 1,600 handbags they handed out. came back with 800 sandbags. we talked to one resident about why it's so important to get these sandbags to protect her home. you've got all these sandbags, why? >> to protect my home. i did survive isabel.
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isabel came through my house and my house was totally trashed. >> reporter: there's been this mad rush for sandbags when they arrived. the city told us they are rationing handbags. six to residents and a business can take ten. we talked to people who wanted to get 60. these are places where with hurricane isabel in 2003 found themselves under several feet of water. they are trying to do all they can to protect themselves. one last thing, there is no mandatory evacuation, but they set up annapolis high school as a place where people can go. buses will be available for people who can't make it out on their own. the city will use the reverse 911 call system to warn people. we'll see what happens here tomorrow. >> it's interesting there is not an evacuation. that is a very low-lying area where you're standing right there. i would imagine that not only are there businesses, there are hotels up the hill just a bit
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and the water could surely come flowing in and cause huge amounts of problems over the next 24 hours or so. >> reporter: it could and it did. if you look around here, the parking lots are still full. we talked to several people who were here for a wedding. one couple was preparing to leave. they were going to get out ahead of the storm. another couple was deciding what to do. people are taking the precautions like stacking up these stand bags. it doesn't look like they are running for the hills just yet. we'll have to see what happens. the mayor said we still have 36 hours. we'll have to see if anything changes as we get closer into saturday where we are expecting to see maybe 50 mile-an-hour winds. >> annapolis is the home to the united states naval academy. i would imagine they are taking all of this in stride. >> reporter: i don't know. they have seen these storms before. it's always anyone's guess.
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what the mayor told us, they would rather people take this seriously and maybe dodge it a little bit. that's better than the opposite. hopefully, we've seen people taking those warnings to heart. we'll hope it turns out okay here, joe. >> athena jones in annapolis, maryland, thanks for that. cnn's coverage of hurricane irene rolls next with "john king usa." north carolina's kill devil hills lies in the path of the storm. we'll go there straight ahead. libya's rebels erase signs left after decades of dictatorship by moammar gadhafi. -- captions by vitac --
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a special report on hurricane irene starts at the top of the hour with john king. ben bernanke says the fed will do all it can to bring high rates of growth in employment back. he gave few specifics in his speech today in jackson hole, wyoming. bernanke put a lot of responsibility on the gridlocked congress. he said a repeat of the debt ceiling debate will hurt the economy. bernanke's comments were enough to fuel a market turnaround.
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the dow rose 135 points today after being down more than 200 earlier in the session. the s&p 500 and the nasdaq composite were also up strongly. >> a deadly car bomb at a u.n. building in nigeria killed at least 18 people. the nigerian president called it a barbaric, senseless and cowardly act. u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon says casualties will be considerable. he didn't speculate on who is responsible. the nigerian capital has been the target of a series of bombings in recent months. >> and check out this video from lib libya. it shows rebels key molishing an iconic statue of this. it became a symbol of colonel


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